ALLIANCE NEWS - NEWSLETTER 21 - Alliance
March 8, 2022

ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 21

Written by createape

We at Alliance Environmental Group would like to acknowledge the women who continue to break down barriers and excel in all industries but specifically those who play key roles either in the field or positions of management and leadership. March helps us celebrate these phenomenal women with the celebration of International Women’s Day and the observance of Women in Construction Week. Alliance Environmental Group believes in the importance of inclusion and diversity and truly appreciates all our female employees and customers for continuing to contribute to the success of our organization. Here’s wishing you all a spectacular International Women’s Day today!

We begin the newsletter with the first topic regarding how mold can build up and form after such extreme weather. Mold presents an unpleasant situation and can affect those that encounter mold spores over a prolonged period. Our attention is set on the need to maintain a healthy indoor environment. Given the current times that we live in, combined with the need to create a clean and healthy indoor environment, air purifiers play an important and distinct role in creating optimal indoor environments decontaminated from any VOCs and contaminants that could impact our health. As we are all well aware, the current housing market has never been as hotly contested as it is now. Home-buying is a trend that has increased in recent times across all states, and demand has never been higher. From a seller’s perspective, it seems like the best time to make a sizeable return on the investment; however, it is essential to note that a property needs to be in a suitable condition before being listed for sale. Environmental hazards such as asbestos could put a spanner in the works when selling a property. The seller must address any concerns about the house before putting it on the market, especially regarding asbestos being present.

Construction projects always bring about contamination issues if not properly controlled. Any renovation work usually provides the facility with possible debris that could create respiratory and health concerns. If any asbestos fibers are airborne, this could lead to a situation requiring proper infection control and dust containment. Thermatech Northwest is a company that specializes in this service and have these measures put in place through appropriate and correct methods. Finally, we end off with the need not to defer maintenance to any HVAC systems or air handling units your facility has. Maintenance, as in keeping with the term, should entail the proper upkeep of systems so that in the long run, the need for replacement does not set you back an exorbitant amount of money.

Extreme Weather and Mold – Everything You Need to Know: By Alliance Environmental

Recent winter storms are responsible for an upsurge in mold remediation projects. Elevated snowfall can mean slushier, wetter conditions later in the season, precisely what molds love. Ignoring the signs of mold damage in your building can be one of the most destructive things.

In the United States, 2021 was the fourth costliest year in insurance losses. Natural disasters destroyed an estimated 112 billion in assets. Hurricane Ida played a role in this, as did severe winter storms, heatwaves, and floods. In the less temperate regions where extreme cold and snowfall, there was an increase in claims resulting in mold remediation. However, the actual value of the mold-related losses is likely higher. The difficulty is that many buildings and structures incur mold damages that do not show up until several years after the event that caused it.

Mold in the cold
Most people associate cold temperatures with killing pests (i.e., bacteria, fungi, dust mites). There is some truth to this – mold prefers warm temperatures that allow it to grow and thrive. At below-freezing temperatures, mold becomes deactivated or dormant. This means that mold cannot grow, but it is not dead. This peculiar fact is what makes mold such a resilient pest. For example, if a colony of mold spores is not given adequate conditions for growth (i.e., moisture, warmth, a food source), it can remain inactive, out of sight, and mistaken for being dead. The truth is that mold requires very extreme conditions to die outright.

Winter weather can act as a catalyst for mold growth. Generally, the big wet thaw toward the end of the winter season brings about the mold. The harsher the winter, the more acute this effect will be. When things get extremely cold, there tends to be condensation on windowsills. Also, the inside of the structure becomes particularly warm as the furnace keeps working. This sets the stage for ideal mold sustenance – warmth and humidity.

As spring approaches, things start to warm up. The record snowfalls from last month have made conditions wetter than ever. Suddenly, the influx of water means that your building’s basement is particularly vulnerable. Maybe there is even some mild flooding. You aren’t too worried because you went through a similar thing three years ago where the basement got mildly flooded. You didn’t notice any mold from that episode, so you decided to bring down some old space heaters from storage and let them work overnight to help dry things up. Everything seems to be dry and expected when you come back the following morning. Do you think the job is done and move on.

Deceived by the spores
It turns out that there was mold from three years ago that was dormant under the basement floorboards. When the space heater was introduced, it added warmth to the moisture, precisely what the inactive mold loves. The mold then migrated along to the corners of the room and traveled up the inside of the walls. Then, in the spring and summer, a few occupants complain of headaches and the occasional nosebleed. Their doctor says that this is probably just some seasonal allergies and recommends antihistamines. It is not until the following winter when mold is spotted on a ceiling tile, that you finally discover the breadth of the problem.

This is an example of how mold often behaves in buildings. One event started it (the partial flooding three years ago), and then conditions were unfavorable for a few years (resulting in dormancy). Then another event would give it sustenance (the more recent partial flood). Once the colony began to thrive, it remained elusive. When things were hot and humid, it would grow, but it would stagnate when it got cooler and dryer every fall. Mold is notorious for going undetected because it is often not present upon visual inspection. A more definitive detection strategy would be an air quality test, which professionals can carry out.

How to go about mold remediation
Heat treatments are highly effective against molds. To kill the spores, you must expose them to 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this yourself is dangerous because of fire hazards. For example, if you were to rent a portable heater device, the risk is that it could overheat if not operated correctly. Overheating equipment is always risky from a fire standpoint. There is also the issue of wearing proper personal protective equipment.

When ingested through the airways, mold can cause big problems. Wearing a basic surgical mask from the drug store may not be enough. One of the advantages of opting for the professional air quality test is that it gives a good idea of the severity. If the concentration of spores in the air is low, then you might be able to get away with handling it yourself if you know what you are doing. There is likely a higher mold poisoning risk if the concentration is higher. At that point, you should call the professionals. They
will have the proper equipment to keep themselves and your building safe.

The critical thing for managing potential mold problems is detection. It is very easy to become overly reliant on a simple visual inspection. Unfortunately, the professionals don’t rely on visuals alone. To verify that all the mold has been eradicated, they will take many air samples at varying stages as hard evidence of how well it is going. So, for example, suppose you begin to take note of occupants reporting symptoms of mold poisoning (i.e., runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headache). In that case, it is easy to explain these things away to other causes. Do not fall into the trap of doing that just because it is convenient.

An experienced mold remediation company such as Alliance Environmental can provide effective and efficient remediation procedures.

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Five Reasons to Use an Air Purifier – by Mintie, LLC

An air purifier for indoor air helps keep you safe from allergies, asthma, outbreaks, and more. A system like Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ offers an even higher level of protection.

Investing in an air purification system is a difficult decision. Dirt on our floors, tables, or counters is obvious, but dirty air isn’t as obvious. What benefits does an air purifier provide? What features are essential? This is confusing, so let’s start with the basics: why should you use an air purifier? Here are five ways an air purifier will improve your home or workplace.

Relieve Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
Air purifiers are highly effective at removing pollen and other allergens. Most allergens are large enough to be caught in the filter of an air purifier. This means pollen and pet hair will be captured instead of lingering in the air. Many people who suffer from allergies report feeling significantly less congestion and irritation when using an air purifier.

Particles in the air don’t just trigger allergies; they also aggravate asthma. Airborne dust enters the airway and the lungs, irritating the cells, leading to inflammation, coughing, and asthma attacks. In addition, those who have asthma often report a reduction of symptoms when they live and work in areas with purified air. These improvements make a significant difference in the lives of people suffering from asthma and allergies. Conditions like these can become a substantial burden on daily life. Removing irritants from the air will improve the quality of sleep, concentration, and overall mood.

Clean Indoor Air of Smog or Smoke
Smoke can find its way into our properties in many ways. For example, residents could smoke in the building; there may be a heavily-used kitchen or a nearby wildfire. Whatever the reason, the smell of smoke can be overpowering and unpleasant.

Smoke is not one chemical – it is a complex mixture of soot, dust particles, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Luckily, air purifiers are suited to handle these contaminants. Dust and soot are captured in the HEPA filter. The difference can be remarkable – families living in areas affected by forest fires report significant improvements in quality of life when using an air purifier.

Air purifiers also promote air circulation. The air circulation improves the amount of fresh air brought into your home and helps to dilute any smoky odor. Airflow can also help soot and ash particles attached to furniture or carpeting to come loose so the air purifier can capture it.

Smog is an even more complex mixture than smoke. Cities with lots of air pollution develop a grey or brown haze known as “smog.” In addition to VOCs and soot, it contains other gases. Homes and buildings in smoggy areas will experience lowered air quality indoors. An air purifier is very effective at removing particles in smog, which will help you breathe easier.

Improve Your Indoor Environment with Dust, and Odor Removal
Want to make your home or office more inviting? Air purifiers reduce the dust and odors found in the air, creating a more comfortable environment.

While we think of dust as accumulating on surfaces, it also floats in the air. Dust particles are relatively large, which means a HEPA filter can capture them. In addition to better air quality, filtering the dust out of the air will reduce your time to spend sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting.

Odors also contribute to unpleasant indoor environments. You may not be able to smell it, but your home or office probably has a distinct odor that outsiders may find undesirable. For example, while conventional air purifiers cannot filter odors out of the air, advanced air purifiers such as Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ use specialized technology to neutralize odors.

Reduce Spread of Respiratory Diseases
Respiratory diseases have become a topic of intense concern since the COVID pandemic. Viral particles travel through the air to infect others, potentially leading to severe illness, long-term disability, or death. Removing viral particles from the air reduces the rate of transmission.

It is worth noting that not every air purifier can effectively neutralize viruses and bacteria from the air. However, like chemicals responsible for odors, viral particles are often too small to be captured by HEPA filters alone. In addition, advanced air purifiers must be used to provide higher levels of protection. Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ has been designed to limit the spread of respiratory diseases. Air passes through a reaction chamber, which can neutralize pathogens. Hospitals, daycares, and senior care centers choose Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ to protect their clients and staff.

Wellbeing and Productivity
Air purifiers will help you in many other ways that are harder to quantify. For example, high air quality has improved mood, productivity, and more. However, a large body of research has shown that air quality is directly and indirectly tied to wellbeing.

For example, purified indoor air decreases rates of headaches and migraines. While these conditions are sometimes not taken seriously, they can be highly debilitating for those who experience them regularly. Another area of active research is “sick building syndrome.” This phenomenon shows that some buildings are the source of illness and discomfort. The causes of this condition are not well known, but indoor air quality seems to play a role. For example, purifying your air might be able to stop your building from developing sick building syndrome or reverse the condition once it comes into effect.

Enjoy the Benefits of Purified Air
Pure air will improve the quality of life for you, your family, and your coworkers. It is time to try it out for yourself! You need a high-quality, state-of-the-art air purifier to get the full benefits.

Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ offers advanced air purification that will significantly improve the air quality in your home or place of work. The reaction chamber technology is specially designed to treat the contaminants and pathogens that other air purifiers cannot capture. Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ also offers unequaled efficiency, so you don’t need to worry about your electric bill.

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Selling a House with Asbestos? What Steps Should You Be Taking? – By Alliance Environmental

Description: Understand what asbestos is and what needs to be done to sell a house when asbestos is present.

Moving is a stressful time. There are many reasons people move; to be closer to family, retire, upgrade to a dream home. Sometimes the reasons are not great, such as losing a job or being forced to downsize due to economic factors. Whatever the reason, moving is stressful. There can be the added concern that asbestos is present when selling a house. Everyday worries include wondering, “can a house sell with asbestos? What happens to the new home if selling the current home takes too long because of the asbestos? What are the options of removing asbestos from home before selling?”

What is asbestos
Anyone who was born before the late 70s is familiar with asbestos. It was in most of our homes, schools, churches, and any other older building. Asbestos was a common building material that used for insulation.

Asbestos is a natural mineral that is light yet almost indestructible material when bound together. Asbestos is resistant to fire, heat, and sound.

There are six types of asbestos.

  • In North America, the most common type of asbestos was serpentine. This asbestos was usually white and had long curly layers. It was used in cement, gaskets for cars and pumps, linoleum, tile floors, and roofing.
  • Actinolite: The second most common type of asbestos is found in cement, drywall, sealants, and paints.
  • Amosite: This brown mineral is found in South African mines but is rarely used in North America.
  • Anthophyllite: This rare brown or yellow mineral was used in cement and insulations.
  • Crocidolite: The most dangerous asbestos mineral found in Australia and Africa, rarely used in any commercial products.
  • Tremolite:  This asbestos is the most heat resistant and is used for insulation and paint.

Asbestos was used in many commercial products building projects such as paint, cement, and insulation. Mechanical use was every day for items such as brake pads, clutches, and insulation around wiring.

Where to look for asbestos in your home when the time comes to sell
The first thing to consider is the age of the house. Asbestos was not commonly used after 1980. If the home is older, call the professionals to check for asbestos in the most common places. The parts of the home include furnaces and older boilers, around pipes and ducts running through the house, floor tiles (if they are made of asphalt or rubber), textured paint, insulation, and roofing. Asbestos is often a white material wrapped around wires or pipes. If there is loose hanging material around the lines, a foam-like substance around furnaces and boilers, or crumbling material from the ceiling, there is a chance that it is asbestos. Due to the danger of asbestos, it is best to have professionals, such as Alliance Environmental, come and inspect the home.

If you suspect the house has asbestos, can it still be sold?
The simple answer is yes! Having asbestos in the house is not a huge deal, as many houses on the real estate market have asbestos. When selling the home, this needs to be disclosed. Do not lie or try and hide this fact as it may affect the sale and expose you to future lawsuits. Honesty is the best policy. One option to selling a house with asbestos is to sell it as is. When costly repairs are to be done, including dealing with asbestos, this is an option to consider because it can mean a faster sale. The trade-off, however,
is a lower sale price.

Offering credit for repairs or asbestos abatement can be a viable option when a family is still residing in the home, and repairs or abatement would be too disruptive. Offering credit is an excellent way to sell quickly due to relocation or if another home purchase is pending on the sale of the current home. Offering credit will ensure money for the new owners to complete the repairs and asbestos removal. When looking at this option, a professional company like Alliance Environmental be consulted for quotes to ensure that the credit offered is reasonable and will cover the costs of removal and repair.

Sealing of asbestos can be completed either before or after the house is sold. In this case, the asbestos will still be in the home. Sealing the asbestos is completed by a professional using a fiberglass cloth dipped in water and wrapping it around the asbestos, sealing it inside. This can also be achieved with a spray. However, when asbestos remains in the home, there continues to be a risk.

Abatement is the best option. If you are planning on selling a home or buying a home, seek professional guidance from Alliance Environmental about asbestos abatement. This process thoroughly removes asbestos from the house, removing any danger.

Danger of asbestos
When talking about asbestos, it is crucial to emphasize the dangers of trying to remove asbestos by yourself and the importance of seeking professionals to complete this work. Asbestos is small and maybe undetected as it enters your body and lungs as you breathe. When the fibers enter your lungs or digestive tract when swallowed, this can cause significant health concerns. For example, asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the chest or abdomen), and asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue).

Conclusion
Selling a home with asbestos is possible and even quite common. There needs to be some extra work to ensure the sale proceeds. Remember to be honest about the potential of asbestos and hire professionals for asbestos sealing or the safest option of asbestos abatement. Do not attempt to remove the asbestos yourself, as it can cause long-term illness for you or your loved ones.

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Dust Containment and Infection Control – By Thermatech Northwest

Dust control is one of the most critical components of construction projects. Whether undertaking a large construction project or a small facility renovation, maintaining health and safety standards is critically important. Dispersal of dust and other airborne contaminants can negatively affect the indoor air quality – risking potential infection to those in the facility. Excessive circulation of dust can build up in the respiratory system and lead to permanent damage to the airways and lungs. It can also trigger asthma or allergies and, more seriously, lead to lung cancer depending on what is in the dust.

Containment is crucial during asbestos jobs. The spread of dust and debris containing asbestos is dangerous for anyone it reaches. Asbestos needs to be handled in a wet environment to keep fibers from being airborne and inside the proper containment so that it is not spread through the facility. Not properly containing asbestos can negatively affect those who have inhaled fibers in the future.

As a trusted service provider in the Western Washington region for over 25 years, Thermatech Northwest, Inc. is licensed, insured, bonded, and understands the importance of dust control and containment. While ensuring guidelines are met, and protocols are taken, Thermatech Northwest sets up containment to protect everyone in the facility from dust and harmful particles.

The Thermatech Northwest team is highly skilled and meets all regulatory and accreditation requirements. They work closely with facility management to develop control and safety strategies, install containment barriers, maintain air quality, perform air scrubbing using HEPA filtration, create negative pressure rooms, and keep the work area clean and disinfected. Their goal is to mitigate dust and debris and provide the best possible infection control for everyone’s safety. If you need to set up dust containment and infection control, choose the best with Thermatech Northwest.

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Deferring Maintenance and Why You Shouldn’t Wait – by Mintie, LLC

Deferring maintenance may be saving money to stay within budget, but it could lead to costs doubled, tripled, or even ten times the amount it would have cost to perform routine maintenance. When you defer maintenance, you not only risk the equipment failing, you also risk-taking away the healthy work environment employees expect. The average person spends a third of their life at work, making the indoor air quality just as important as anywhere else. Especially with current events, clean air is heavily sought after.

The phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is commonly said in many facilities. However, that phrase fails to include the hidden issues that can lead equipment to break, resulting in higher repair costs. Repeated use of a piece of equipment, including HVAC distribution systems and air handler units – with deferred maintenance can become more costly than keeping up with routine maintenance. When equipment breaks, you can run into frequent downtime and expensive repairs that could have been prevented.

An essential task under routine maintenance is cleaning. HVAC distribution systems (air ducts) and air handler units should be regularly cleaned. Filters, coils, and air ducts can become clogged without regularly scheduled cleaning. Other components sit covered in dust-borne particles and other debris, causing your system to operate at less than 100% efficiency. In addition, clogged filters prevent clean air from circulating through the facility – potentially triggering asthma and allergies of your employees.

HVAC distribution system and air handler unit cleaning increases the life of the equipment and reduces unexpected costs. For example, if an HVAC distribution system and air handler unit are clogged, it will cause them to work harder to get the facility to a comfortable temperature. Overworking the systems can cause overheating and broken parts, reducing the system’s lifespan altogether. Repairs can be costly, and performing repairs can cause unscheduled downtime, costing the facility time and money. A professional performing the cleaning service can uncover issues you may have never seen otherwise, allowing you to tackle them before they get out of hand.

Mintie offers HVAC distribution system cleaning and air handler unit cleaning and rehabilitation. Both are services often deferred until it is too late. These services help save money, but they also help facilities achieve better indoor air quality. Each service has a streamlined process to complete these services efficiently and promptly.

HVAC Distribution Systems (Air Duct) Cleaning

Inspection and Assessment

  • Debris Collection – Utilize HEPA filtered vacuums to extract dust borne particles that can be blown into occupied spaces
  • Restoration – Removal or repair of existing internal insulation, and replacement
    with new HP or covering with Astro-shield insulated liner

Air Handler Cleaning & Rehabilitation

  • Thorough Cleaning
  • HEPA vacuum all internal surfaces and components in each plenum
  • Wash fans and fan housings
  • Chemically treat and pressure washing coils
  • Disinfect all internal surfaces with Shockwave Disinfectant
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prep and repaint all internal metal surfaces to eliminate rust
  • Repair and replace damaged or deteriorating internal insulation
  • Replace worn or damaged door gaskets

Stop deferring your maintenance and get Mintie, LLC to your facility to perform HVAC distribution system (air duct) cleaning and air handler cleaning and rehabilitation.

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Striving to Ensure Total Client Satisfaction

My experience with the whole staff was efficient, affable, and professional. From start to finish, Alliance proved their name with quality service, exceptional staff and better than punctual, EARLY. The manager, Alyssa, came to me personally to oversee the project and talk to us through the whole process.
Daniel R.

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